Since U.S. Congressman Ted Poe, who represents Texas’ 2nd Congressional District, announced he will not seek reelection in 2018, the grassroots and party insiders have been buzzing with who will step up to try and fill his seat.

And now that field is starting to take shape.

State Rep. Kevin Roberts (R-Houston) announced early Tuesday that he was throwing his name into the open seat race for the odd-shape district that stretches from Houston to Huffman.

“Our region is still reeling from the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey. We need dedicated, effective leadership to help the thousands of families and small business [sic] who have been effected by that devastating storm,” reads Roberts’ press release.

“From my time serving in the State Legislature, I have a proven record of delivering conservative results that seek to make our government more effective, while limiting its powers to intervene in our lives,” he continues.

From such a statement, Roberts sounds like a multi-term conservative legislator rather than the one-term, moderate state lawmaker his record says he is.

In Roberts’ first (and only) term in the Texas Legislature, he earned a failing grade of 58 on the Fiscal Responsibility Index.

His score is a direct result of votes he made that hindered taxpayer rights and allowed for increased government spending. For example, Roberts opposed a “truth-in-taxation” amendment made by colleague Briscoe Cain (R-Deer Park), which would have forced entities to more clearly define what taxes they are levying. In addition, he voted against permitting electronic testimony from district offices for constituents who can’t make it to the Capitol, while voting with Democrats in supporting a fast-track minimum wage resolution.

Roberts also voted to raid the Emergency Stabilization Fund, allow school districts to increase taxes and bypass rollback elections, and voted against protections for whistleblowers who report authorities who don’t comply with Texas’ new sanctuary city law.

Nonetheless, Roberts says he is asking for the “vote and support” of conservatives in Texas’ 2nd Congressional District so that we can ensure, “we have a voice in Congress who understands the Texas model of success.”

Given the “Texas model of success” is viewed by many to revolve around fiscal responsibility and personal liberty, Robert’s voting record indicates his “understanding” may not align with his campaign rhetoric.

Though Roberts is the first, there are sure to be other entries in the race, where candidates can be sure that voters will be watching.

Texas’ 2nd Congressional District historically leans Republican and its next representative will most likely be chosen in the March 6th Republican primary or runoff election. That said, Democrats have already made clear they intend to compete for the seat.

Charles Blain

Charles Blain is the president of Urban Reform and Urban Reform Institute. A native of New Jersey, he is based in Houston and writes on municipal finance and other urban issues.